Tag Archives: Christians

Holy muron was celebrated at St. Sarkis Cathedral in Tehran, Iran

In the Armenian Church the Holy Muron is prepared and blessed every seven years. It is composed of olive oil and forty-eight aromas and flowers. The remaining portion of the previous blessed holy oil is poured into the newly prepared oil during the blessing ceremony and passes the blessing from generation to generation. It is said that this very procedure has been followed for nearly 1700 years.

The Catholicos of all Armenians in Etchmiadzin combines a new mixture of holy muron in the cauldron every seven years using a portion of the holy muron from the previous blend. This is distributed to all of the Armenian churches throughout the world. Here are some photos of this years ceremony in Tehran’s St. Sarkis Cathedral:

More post about Iranian Christians: Click here

More information about the ceremony can be found here: Wikipedia

Sources: theorthodoxchurch.info, ISNA | Photos

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Photos: Exhibit at Laleh Gallery, Tehran, in memory of Iranian-Assyrian artist Hannibal Alkhas

Hannibal Alkhas (1930 – 2010) was a Christian Iranian sculptor, painter and author that lived in the US as well as in Iran. His work is deeply inspired by the ancient bas-reliefs and stone sculptures of Ancient Assyria, Babylon and Daric-Persia.

Alkhas’ students are displaying their latest works in an exhibit being held in memory of the artist. It will run until June 21 at Laleh Gallery in Tehran.

The exhibit showcases works by artists like Reza Bangiz, Bahram Dabiri, Rozita Sharafjahan, Taraneh Sadeghian, Niloufar Ghaderinejad, Ahmad Vakili, Ali Nedaee, Nasser Mohammadi, Masoud Saadeddin, Katayoun Moghaddam, Hadi ziaeddini, Hamed Sahihi, and others.

Sources: Honaronline.ir | Featured, Tavoos Art Magazine | News

Hannibal Alkhas: Christian Iranian painter, sculptor and author (Photos)

Hannibal Alkhas (1930 – 2010) was a Christian Iranian sculptor, painter and author. His work is deeply inspired by the ancient bas-reliefs and stone sculptures of Ancient Assyria, Babylon and Daric-Persia.

Alkhas was born in 1930 in Kermanshah, Iran, and died in California on Sept. 14, 2010. His father was Assyrian writer Rabi Adai Alkhas and his uncle, John Alkhas, is one of the most famous Assyrian poets in the 20th century.

After spending his childhood and teenage years in Kermanshah, Ahwaz and Tehran, Hannibal Alkhas moved in 1951 to the United States and studied philosophy for three years at Loyola University of Chicago, Illinois. In 1958 he received his Masters of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1959, after the death of his father he returned to Iran and began to teach painting, drawing, and art history at The Tehran School of Fine Arts”. During this time he established the successful “Gilgamesh” gallery, the first modern art gallery in Iran where aspiring young artists were introduced.

In 1963 he returned to the United States and taught at “Monticello College” in Illinois where he became the chairman of the art department. In 1969 Alkhas again returned to Iran and spent the next eleven years teaching at Tehran University.

In 1980, back in the United States where he stayed for the next twelve years he taught art at the Assyrian American Civic Club in Turlock, private colleges, and at the University of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles.

From 1992 on, he taught at diferent campuses of the Azad Isalmic University of Iran while he also taught painting privately and worked as an art critic writer in various Iranian magazines. His painting style sought to vitalize the historic processes within the passing moment, using past and present separately and simultaneously whether through content or form, he mixed expressions from six thousand years ago, today and the future.

Alkhas also illustrated book covers and translated Hafez’ lyrics into Assyrian. Before his death he was working on the completion of his Assyrian reproduction of the tragedy of Rustam and Sohrab, which was to have a happy ending. He hold a number of one-man shows, group art exhibitions, and traveling exhibitions in Southern Iran, South Korea, Europe, Canada, Australia, Cyprus and Israel. Aside from being displayed in his own gallery, his paintings are featured in the Fine Arts Museum and Gallery of Modern Art in Tehran and the Helena d’ Museum in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Iran Chamber Society | Visual Arts | Hannibal Alkhas, Payvand News of Iran | Sculptor and painter Hannibal Alkhas dies at 80, Mash Gallery | Artists | Hannibal Alkhas, Hannibal Alkhas

Andranik Teymourian – first Christian to lead Iran’s football team as its permanent captain

The 32-year-old midfielder, known as Ando – or Samurai, due to his hairstyle – is not shy of showing his Christianity, often crossing himself on the field. In April 2015, Teymourian, who has played for Bolton Wanderers and Fulham, became the first Christian to lead Iran’s football team as its permanent captain. His first appearance as captain of the national team was however on 18 May 2014, when Teymourian captained Iran in the match against Belarus. In the same year he was named “Iranian footballer of the year”.

“I’m happy that as a Christian I play in a Muslim team,” he said in a recent interview. “I have Armenian roots but I hold the Iranian passport and I’m proud of that, I hold my flag high. I hope I can enhance the good reputation of Armenian people in Iran.”

Iran's midfielder Andranik Teymourian gestures during the friendly football match Iran vs Belarus in preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2014 on May 18, 2014 in Kapfenberg, Austria. AFP PHOTO / SAMUEL KUBANI (Photo credit should read SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Ethnic Armenians make up the majority of Iran’s estimated 300,000 Christians. Armenians are fully integrated in Iranian society, from the musician Loris Tjeknavorian to Sombat Hacoupian, who founded one of the country’s most famous men’s clothing brands and is now a household name.

Although Islam is Iran’s official religion, it recognises Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians as accepted religious minorities. They are permitted their house of worship and usual religious services, and have reserved seats in the Iranian parliament. In a country where alcohol and pigmeat are forbidden, Christians are allowed to distil booze and eat pork.

There are at least 600 churches in Iran, including the sixth-century St Mary Church of Tabriz, mentioned by Marco Polo in his travel book. The adjacent province of West Azerbaijan boasts the ancient St Thaddeus Monastery, a Unesco world heritage site.

All minorities related posts on this blog: The other Iran | Minorities (with lots of interesting photos)

Read more: The Guardian , wikipedia | Andranik Teymourian

Iranian Armenians rally in Tehran to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Thousands of Iranian Armenians rallied in Tehran on Friday, protesting in front of the Turkish Embassy to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

Many in the crowd, who marched from the Armenian Church in Tehran to the Turkish Embassy, held signs in Farsi and English asking the international community to recognize the genocide, while others chanted slogans calling for justice and the downfall of the Turkish government. “What Armenians demand now is that the Turkish government recognize [the massacre] as genocide and accept its legal consequences,” Karen Khanlari told Iran’s Press TV during the protests.

There were different events organized to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 23 and April 24. In Tehran were the religious ceremonies held at the St. Sarkis Cathedral.

Following sovereign countries have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide: Argentina (2003) , Austria (2015), Belgium (1998), Bolivia (2014), Canada (1996), Chile (2007), Cyprus (1975) was the first country to raise the issue to the UN General Assembly, Czech Republic (2015), France (1998), Germany (2015), Greece (1999), Holy See (2000), Italy (2000), Lithuania (2005), Lebanon (1997), Netherlands (2004), Poland (2005), Russia (1995), Slovakia (2004), Sweden (2010), Switzerland (2003), Uruguay (1965) was the first country to recognize the events as genocide, Venezuela (2005). On Apr 24, 2015 the Bulgarian parliament approved a resolution using the phrase “mass extermination of the Armenian People in the Ottoman Empire”. The United States of America, Israel, the United Kingdom, Australia or Spain do not use the term genocide to refer to these facts.

Robert Beglaryan and Karen Khanlaryan, MPs of Armenian origin, have also had speeches in Iran Majlis concerning the Armenian Genocide Centennial. “We call on the government and the President Rouhani in particular to call the real facts by their name. That will make it possible to support the security in the region,” Robert Beglaryan said in his speech.

Iran has been conducting a moderate and cautious policy regarding the Armenian Genocide over the last years. Remarkably, though, the MPs of the 6th Majlis of Iran condemned the Armenian Genocide. Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, then President of Iran, visited Tsitsernakaberd during his official visit to Yerevan on September 9, 2004. Vice president of Iran, Hamid Baghaei, pronounced the word ‘genocide’ during the conference ‘Iran: The Bridge of Victory’ in August 2010. “The government of Ottoman Turkey committed genocide in 1915; and a certain number of Armenians fell victim to it,” he said although the statement was refuted not to aggravate the relations with Turkey.

However, both the political and religious elite of Iran, as well as ordinary citizens admit the fact of the Armenian Genocide, as according to the Iranian sources, the Ottoman Turks have not only perpetrated genocide against the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, but also have slaughtered many Iranians in Urmia Region in 1918.

In Iran there are Armenian Genocide Memorials in Abadan, Ahraz, Arak, Isfahan, Tehran and Urumieh, all of them on Armenian Churches ground. In Abadan the Genocide Memorial was renovated since it was next to the church damaged during the Iran Iraq war.

Other Commemoration events worldwide:
1. Los Angeles Times | Armenian Genocide Anniversary Apr 24, 2015
2. The Huffington Post | Poignant photos from around the world show Armenian Genocide has not been forgotten

Sources: www.hyeli.com, Wikipedia | Armenian Genocide recognitionarmenian-genocide.org | Recognition countries, Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, ISNA 1, Tasnim News Agency, panorama>>am | Asory Genocide, panorama>>am | Rouhani letter, armenian-genocide.org | Genocide Memorials in Iran, uacla.com | Armenian Genocide Memorials, team-aow.discuforum.info | Monuments Commemoratifs du Genocide Armenien

Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province: Saint Stepanos Monastery near Jolfa

The St. Stepanos Monastery (Armenian: Maghardavank) is an Armenian monastery about 15 km northwest of Jolfa, East Azarbaijan Province, northwestern Iran. It is situated in a deep canyon along the Arax river on the Iranian side of the border between Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Iran. Since 2008 it is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List together with the St. Thaddeus Monastery and the Chapel of Dzordzor.

The general structure mostly resembles Armenian and Georgian architecture and the inside of the building is adorned with beautiful paintings by Honatanian, a renowned Armenian artist. Hayk Ajimian, an Armenian scholar and historian, recorded that the church was originally built in the ninth century AD, but repeated earthquakes in Azarbaijan completely eroded the previous structure. The church was rebuilt during the rule of Shah Abbas the Second.

History
The first monastery was built in the seventh century (AD 649) and completed in the tenth century. However, St Bartholomew first founded a church on the site around AD 62 but it was partly destroyed during the wars between the Seljuks and the Byzantine Empire in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

Following the conquest of the region by the Mongols of Hulagu, grandson of Genghis Khan, in the middle of the thirteenth century, Christians benefited from the favorable Ilkhanid dynasty, and a peace agreement is signed between the Armenian Church and the Ilkhans. The monastery was restored in the second half of the thirteenth century.

The monastery was completely rebuilt in 1330 under the leadership of Zachariah. St. Stepanos Monastery found the height of its cultural and intellectual influence in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The monastery produced paintings and illuminated manuscripts, in areas as diverse as religion, history and philosophy.

In the early fifteenth century, the new Safavid dynasty protected the Armenians but the region is at the center of the rivalry between the Safavids and the Ottomans, who invaded Western Armenia in 1513. St. Stepanos in the sixteenth century observed a gradual decline until Shah Abbas I decided to evacuate the region from its inhabitants in 1604. The monastery then was abandoned. From 1650, the Safavids, however, decided to occupy the region again, and the damaged and abandoned St. Stepanos monastery was restored in the middle of the century.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the area became a challenge for the conquest of the Russian Empire. Yerevan was conquered by the Russians in 1827. The border between Persia and Russia was established on the Araxes by the Treaty of Turkmenchay. Consequently part of the population was displaced by force to Russian Armenia. The Qajar rulers continued to protect the Armenians. They encouraged the rebuilding of St. Stepanos Monastery between 1819 and 1825.

The monastery has undergone several restorations recently twentieth and twenty-first centuries, especially since 1974.

On UNESCO World Heritage List
The Armenian monasteries in Northwestern Iran have borne continuous testimony, since the origins of Christianity and certainly since the 7th century, to Armenian culture in its relations and contact with the Persian and later the Iranian civilizations. They bear testimony to a very large and refined panorama of architectural and decorative content associated with Armenian culture, in interaction with other regional cultures: Byzantine, Orthodox, Assyrian, Persian and Muslim. The monasteries have survived some 2,000 years of destruction, both of human origin and as a result of natural disasters. They have been rebuilt several times in a spirit in keeping with Armenian cultural traditions.

Further information: Iran Chamber Society | Church of Saint Stephanos

Sources: Wikipedia | Saint Stepanos MonasteryIran Chamber Society | Historical Churches in Iran, Tishineh | St. Stepanos Monastery, Wikimedia Commons | Saint Stepanos Monastery, UNESCO World Heritage List | Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, IRNA | Photos 1, IRNA | Photos 2

Photo gallery: Armenian Iranian Christians celebrate Christmas on 6th of January in Isfahan, Iran

Some Iranian Christians celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 and New Years’ on Jan. 1, while Armenians celebrate Christmas at the same time as the Epiphany on Jan. 6.

More content on Iranian Christians on this blog: The other Iran | Christians

Sources: Mehr News Agency | Photos, Al-Monitor: the pulse of the Middle East | Iran’s Christians celebrate Christmas